Dubbed as the “Gateway of the North”, Bulacan is known not only for its rich culture, heritage, and tourist destinations but also for its vast agricultural lands despite the widespread conversion of the latter into subdivisions and other commercial areas. That being said, through the efforts of the Institute of Environmental Governance’s then Head and now the Director of Extension Services Office, Dr. Elizabeth A. Chua, had conceived two years ago the project FROAST an acronym that means, Fostering Robust Organic Agriculture Sustainable Technology. The said project aims to address the ceaseless destruction of farmlands caused by using harmful chemicals and also to heighten the promotion of organic agriculture practices in Bulacan. In addition, through the said project, new novelty products from locally founded plants will soon be discovered. Moreover, an organic trading post will soon rise to be used as a drop-off point for the organic products.
For the past 18 months, the whole team of Project FROAST has traveled to Bulacan to seek potential beneficiaries of the project. To date, the team has already visited 49 potential sites all over the province and has identified 24 definite farm associations and sites that signified their interest to take part in the said endeavor. Included in the 24 beneficiaries are the IPs-Teachers Farmers Association from Angat Bulacan; Briquettor Association of the Philippines Inc., a fish-famers association based in Norzagaray, Bulacan; Mang Danny’s Natural and Organic Farm located at Paombong Bulacan; Samahan ng Mamamayan para sa Kalikasan ng Biak na Bato (SAMAKABA) of San Miguel; Noi’s Rabbit Farm located in Pulilan, Bulacan; IP Asean in Angat, Bulacan; BIO Farm, an integrated and training center that specializes in organic practices located at San Rafael, Bulacan; Prudencio Agricultural Farm found in Bintog, Plaridel Bulacan; Rio Garden of San Francisco, Bulakan Bulacan; Samahan ng mga Magsasaka at Guro sa Institusyon (SAMGI) from BulSU-Bustos Campus; Francisco Farm located at Loma de Gato, Marilao Bulacan; Agribusiness Farm Workers Livelihood Entrepreneur Association of San Rafael Bulacan; Angela’s GGES Farm; Munting Paraiso ni Yolly Farm of Angat; Sta Cruz Farm Association in Angat, Bulacan; Talbak Coffee Growers Association from Dona Remedios Trinidad; Joey’s Farm of San Miguel, Bulacan; Kevin Vitangcol’s Farm located at San Ildefonso Bulacan; 4Cs Farm of Paombong; Caballero Integrated Farm in Panasahan, Malolos Bulacan; RMB Organic Farm; Fruit and Vegetable Farm of Hagonoy; Felicisima Village Homeowners Association Vegetable Garden and Felisidro Farm located in Pulilan,Bulacan.
Comprising of the pool of Experts in organic agriculture, certified National Certificate II in Organic Farming holders, faculty members from the College of Business Administration, Center for Bulacan Studies, and Staff in the persons of Ms. Ruth Sealmoy, Ms. Crystalyn Lumague, Ms. Maria Antonina Santiago, Mr. Edilberto Larin, Ms. Mialyn A. Cadiente and Ms. Jillian Dana Santos have started to share their skills and knowledge among the selected beneficiaries regarding various topics which include the Importance of Formulating the Vision and Mission of an organization or Association; Organic Farming; Marketing;
Branding and Logo; Mapping and Solid Waste Management. The transfer of knowledge and skills among the beneficiaries is pivotal in helping them to be equipped in the different aspects of organic agriculture.
Chosen farm beneficiaries are also awarded farm inputs and equipment.
As one of the collaborators of the project, the College of Science has spearheaded the construction and establishment of the mini botanical garden inside the University. At the moment, BulSU’s Mini Botanical Garden situated on the grounds of Federizo Hall has already housed various varieties of herbs and spices, root crops, flowering plants, and vegetable seedlings such as tarragon, dill, aloe vera, ginger, eggplant, tomatoes, lettuce, zinnia, hibiscus, and kalumata to name a few. The vegetable garden is also known as the “Program of BulSU Adoration Garden” (Pro-BAG) envisions that all Bulakeños will never go hungry and shall have an access to healthy food starting with the BulSU workforce.
Project FROAST is funded by the Department of Agriculture – National Organic Agriculture Program and collaborates with the Institute of Environmental Governance under the Extension Services Office; the College of Business Administration; the College of Science; The College of Arts and Letters; and Center for Bulacan Studies.